Disclaimer: You would be barmy if you thought these characters were mine. They belong to JKR. of course.
Title: Silver Luck
Author: Aeryn Alexander
Rating: PG-13 (mild language, references to violence, some nudity, angst)
Genre: Angst/Drama
Summary: Remus is gravely injured by a silver bullet. While he lingers between life and death, Ginny Weasley sits by his side.
Author's Notes: Nowhere in HP are we given reason to believe that silver is dangerous to werewolves. However, I am a bit old school and appreciate the older legends about this sort of thing. I also 'ship Ginny/Remus, though this story is not as romantic in nature as others I've written.
Silver Luck

The lights were low in the hospital wing that evening. Ginny hesitated at the door of the wing, looking from bed to bed, each neatly and meticulously made and unoccupied, searching for him. Her heart seemed to miss a beat as her eyes fell upon an unmoving form at the far end of the otherwise empty ward. She quickened her steps, hurrying toward Madam Pomfrey's only patient and half expecting the mediwitch to appear, stop her, and send her away before she could see him.

None of those things happened. Ginny stepped up to his bedside unimpeded. Her breath caught in her throat as she looked down at Remus Lupin, whose complexion had taken on a sickly gray hue. His tawny eyes were closed, and Ginny could hear the soft rattle of every labored breath her former professor took.

"Remus?" she questioned softly.

She didn't expect him to move or answer, so she wasn't disappointed when he did neither. He had been shot with a silver bullet that afternoon. At once horribly wounded and poisoned, Ginny knew that he wasn't expected to survive. He could only be made comfortable until the silver finished him. Her eyes prickled with tears as she sat down next to him.

A muted sound, something between a sigh and a moan, escaped his pale lips as he was jostled. Ginny hushed him and cautiously touched one of his hands, wondering if it was all right, if it was safe, to touch him. His skin was surprisingly cool and dry to the touch, like parchment that had been left on a window sill in the winter. Ginny chewed her lower lip for a moment before lifting his hand and holding it between her own hands.

How lifeless he had become in such a short amount of time. She had seen him in the corridors just days before, delivering a report, no doubt, to the headmaster. He had smiled and waved to her as they passed on opposite sides of the wide hall. The sixth year student had ducked her head slightly and blushed, remembering their long talks and games of wizard's chess at Grimmauld Place during the summer. Those days would never come again now. Not even if they won the war.

Ginny turned his hand over and stroked his palm with her fingertips. The gesture was perhaps too intimate, but she wasn't thinking about that. She only thought of the deep lines carved there, the small, rough calluses, and the fluttering heartbeat, the fading pulse, she could feel beneath the skin at his wrist.

She blinked back the tears again. She knew Remus wouldn't want her to sit there crying over him. What would he want? Ginny didn't think he would want to die alone, even in a comfortable bed, swaddled in warm blankets. But he wouldn't want any of his former students to weep for him. She fought back the tears because she knew he would want her to cry. There would be time for that later.

Later, there was always time for tears. Ginny had learned that lesson well enough. Now was always the time for bravery and action; later was the designated time for mourning and grieving, and all that went with them.

Remus's fingers curled reflexively as she lightly caressed his palm. Some spark of life, of him, remained and had not dwindled entirely. She managed a tremulous smile at that. He would never give up without a fight. Ginny wondered if something so small as that movement might be the only sign of his struggle against death. Even so, she was certain that he was fighting. Her stomach twisted as she realized that no matter how noble or brave, his struggle was a futile one. Silver-poisoning was fatal to werewolves.

And he had been shot as well. Never mind the composition of the bullet, the Muggle devise alone might have been enough to slay him. She wasn't sure where he had been shot. Ginny, by her own admission, wasn't very knowledgeable about such things; in fact, she could hardly believe that their pureblood opponents would stoop to using Muggle technology against them. But there were no rules in war. The attack on Remus had proved that much.

Rumor had it that a Death Eater had shot him with an antique dueling pistol in broad daylight in Hogsmeade. There had been many witnesses, but they had been too frightened to act, to do anything to assist the mild-mannered wizard who helped keep the village safe. Only quick thinking by other Order of the Phoenix members who had been present had saved Remus from dying in the street. They had brought him directly to Hogwarts. To die in comfort.

This time Ginny was forced to dash away the tears and wipe her eyes, letting go of Remus's hand to do so. His fingers curled into a half fist on the covers. As she dried her eyes, her attention drifted to his face. If not for the gray hue, the distinct pallor of the nearly dead, Remus might have appeared to be sleeping. Nothing more than having a little nap. Or perhaps he had turned in early for the night. But, no, he looked like death itself, not even death-warmed-over.

It went without saying that she didn't like seeing him like this, that Ginny wanted more than anything to see him looking like himself again, even if he appeared tired like he did after a full moon or as anxious as he seemed before one. She wanted to see him smile one of those shy and compassionate smiles again. She slid closer to his head, moving his arm out of her way, draping it across his chest, and touched his cool, gray cheek. He would never smile again, would he?

She brushed her fingertips over his face, wondering if he could feel anything, wondering if he were in pain or frightened, wondering if he knew she was there with him. And pondering whether it even mattered that she was.

But why was she the only one there? Sirius Black should have been there, she realized, knowing that the two wizards had had a rare, close friendship. But he had left this world first; no one could expect Black to be there. Harry should have been there, and Ginny wasn't sure why he was absent from Remus's side, save perhaps he had not been allowed to leave the dormitories. That had not stopped Ginny. Why would it stop him? She didn't know.

A muscle in his face twitched as she rubbed her fingers over his slightly stubbled cheek. She paused and held her breath for a moment, letting her fingers linger at his jaw line. He didn't move again nor make a sound, except for the soft, constant rattle of his breath. What had she felt at that moment? Concern? A hint of fear that she had caused him pain or discomfort? Hope that he might ... what? Open his eyes? Speak to her one last time? Ginny didn't think she was that naive anymore.

Maybe that was why she couldn't think of anything to say to him. She couldn't find it within herself to believe that he would hear her. And what was the good of talking when there was no one listening. Besides that, even if she had had the words, Ginny couldn't trust herself to speak. Even thinking about talking to Remus, saying her good-byes to him, made her throat prickle painfully.

She brushed a few errant strands of soft, graying hair from his forehead and noticed how many more gray hairs there seemed to be among the light brown of his youth. Not from earlier that week, but certainly from the summer. The years since he had taught her had not been very kind to Remus. Only three and a half years had passed since then, but looking at the gray hairs and tiny lines on his face, she would have guessed closer to ten.

A moment later Ginny startled as the door to the hospital wing opened behind her with a jarring creak. She turned and watched it close again with making a sound. She furrowed her brow as she imagined hearing footsteps at the other end of the wing. Then, despite her previous feelings of sadness, she laughed.

"Harry? Is that you?" she asked in a low voice as the sound of quiet steps drew nearer.

There was a brief shimmer as Harry removed his Invisibility Cloak. Ginny wasn't surprised, just relieved, to see him standing there in a Weasley jumper and a pair of pants that were too large for him, but had been magically adjusted, albeit not very skillfully. His feet were sock-clad, giving Ginny some indication as to how difficult it had been for Harry to sneak from Gryffindor Tower to the hospital wing.

"I didn't expect to find you here," he said with a small smile as he folded up the cloak. Harry walked to the foot of the bed and grew somber as he looked down at Remus. "How is he, Ginny?" His voice was soft and full of concern.

"I'm not sure," she replied, turning back to Remus, who was as gray and unmoving as before. Ginny didn't want to tell him that he was dying. He already knew that much. But what was there to add to it that Harry couldn't see with his own eyes?

"You haven't spoken to Madam Pomfrey then?" he questioned.

"No," she answered with a slight shake of her head, "I haven't seen her at all, actually."

Harry nodded, acknowledging her reply, and took a seat on the opposite side of the bed from Ginny, next to Remus, as though it were the most natural thing in the world. They had become very close, Ginny realized, since the death of Harry's godfather and his friend. He reached and shook Remus by the shoulder.

"Remus?"

Ginny bit her lip as he called their former professor's name over and again. She didn't know how he kept his voice steady, but then, he was Harry Potter and she had never quite understood him, not even after going to school with him for six years. She watched him give Remus another shake.

"Let him be, Harry," she said softly after a few minutes.

Harry glanced at her and nodded before giving Remus's shoulder a firm squeeze and letting go. He rubbed his eyes beneath his glasses and just shook his head. Then he gently lifted Remus's hand and held it between both of his own, not unlike Ginny had done earlier. She was surprised to see how much larger Harry's hands were than those of the older wizard.

If this were a fairy tale, Remus would have opened his eyes for Harry and smiled at him, at both of them perhaps, and then everything would have been fine. Ginny suppressed a bitter laugh. This was no fairy tale, and Remus wasn't going to wake up just because Harry, or she, wanted him to.

"Snape's skulking through the corridors tonight," Harry commented. "I think he was trying to catch me coming here. Trying to stop me from seeing Remus."

Ginny could tell by the way his jaw clenched that he was angry, seething beneath the surface. She didn't understand him very well, but she understood that and felt angry on behalf of both Harry and Remus. To keep a man's friends, his family, away from him during his last hours was unconscionably cruel.

"I slipped past him, but I had to take off my shoes. I would have cursed the bastard ..."

"Harry," she interrupted quietly, "don't talk about that sort of thing just now. Remus wouldn't want that."

"You're right," said Harry with a soft sigh, "but I don't think a person could get much lower than that. Making Remus go through this alone just because Snape hated my father and hates me." He paused and unclenched his jaw. "But you would have been here anyway. I'm grateful for that."

"Nonsense," Ginny murmured, brushing the same loose strands of hair from Remus's forehead again. They wouldn't stay put.

"You always fancied Remus, didn't you?" questioned Harry with a note of hesitation in his voice.

A blush crept into Ginny's cheeks as she replied, "Not always. I was only twelve when he taught us defense, remember?"

"That's right. You fancied me when you were twelve," said Harry with a lop-sided smile that nearly reached his eyes, but couldn't quite light them up. Not unexpected given the circumstances.

"Like I said, I was only twelve," she answered back. A hint of mischief touched her expression. "Which is about the time Ron says you began fancying Cho Chang, if I'm not mistaken."

A laugh escaped Harry's lips before he told her, "Yeah, around that time."

"Are you still exchanging letters with her?" asked Ginny, and she couldn't help but feel glad that the two Seekers had reconciled. A small, cynical voice told her that no one ends up with their first love. Truthfully, she hoped that Harry might.

Harry blushed to his ears before nodding. "Almost every week now. It's a shame she isn't at school anymore."

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder," Ginny quoted, though she wasn't sure if that were true or just a romantic notion thought up by some lovesick fool.

"That it does," Harry agreed. His expression became serious again. "You fancy him then?" he pressed, though his tone was neither mocking nor unkind.

"Yeah," she admitted before looking away from both of them. What was the harm in telling Harry that now? He wouldn't let it slip to anyone. Ginny found that she didn't think she would care if he did. Remus was dying; where was the harm in letting it be known that he was loved by someone.

"There's always hope that he might weather this ..." Harry began to tell her.

She closed her eyes to stop the tears and shook her head. "Don't give me false hope, Harry, that only makes this worse."

"It isn't false hope. Or at least I don't believe it is, Ginny. Not by any means. It's just ... hope," he told her with quiet conviction.

Harry obviously still believed in miracles, even after witnessing more horrors than she ever would. How could he manage it, she wondered, shaking her head in disbelief, and yet, wanting to believe as much as he did.

"He's the only family ... the closest thing to family ... I have left in the world. I'm not ready to give him up just yet," said Harry.

"All right," she whispered. She wasn't able to argue with him, and she didn't want to argue. If Harry wanted to believe that a werewolf could survive a silver bullet, he was free to believe that, even if she couldn't.

Ginny was going to say something more, but Harry's head snapped up and he turned toward the door as though he had heard something. Then she heard it too: loud, quick footsteps echoing through the corridor outside the wing. Harry grabbed his cloak as she clambered to her feet. They didn't need to say anything; they both moved away from the bed, and Harry threw though cloak over them. It was just in the nick of time.

The door to the hospital wing opened to reveal Severus Snape, complete with his swirling black robes and a pronounced scowl. He strode purposefully to the bed where Remus lay insensible to everything around him, paused at the footboard, which he grasped with both hands, and looked down at his former schoolmate with a hard expression on his face.

Ginny watched him carefully as they crept a few paces farther from the hospital bed. Beside her, she could feel Harry begin to seethe again.

"Merlin, look at you, Lupin," said Snape in a quiet voice. "Not even the barest hint of improvement. What have you got to say for yourself?" He paused, missing a beat as though he expected a reply. "Nothing? None of my remedies have done any good at all." His shoulders sagged. "You know how much I would have relished this when we were young. I would have shook Walden's hand."

Ginny heard Harry grit his teeth and pinched him. She felt a wave of nausea herself, but she didn't want Harry to give them away. Her pulse quickened as Snape glanced toward them and narrowed his eyes. Harry clapped a hand over her eyes, though she didn't know why. Then she thought of Legilimency and how important eye contact supposedly was...

"Not now, Lupin. I'm not glad now," said Snape in a lower, reluctant voice. Harry removed his hand and looked at Ginny apologetically. "Too many people care about you for you to carelessly leave a Lupin-shaped void in the world. I never thought I would count myself as one of them, but ..." He snorted softly. "Here we are." His knuckles whitened as he gripped the footboard more tightly. "Do everyone a favor, you demented werewolf: hang on for a while longer. I'll have another remedy to try on you within the hour."

Then the professor gave his former colleague a terse nod and strode away without another word. Harry waited several minutes before removing the cloak. She murmured her thanks and returned to her spot at Remus's side. Harry just stood near the end of the bed, compulsively folding and unfolding his cloak.

"I have a few words I'd like to say to him too," said Harry quietly.

Ginny turned and asked him, "Would you like me to give you some time alone with him then?" She understood that such words, heard or unheard by those for whom they were intended, were likely to be very private.

She started to stand again, but Harry gestured for her to stay where she was. "You don't have to do that," he said, vacillating for a moment before sitting with Remus again. "I told Ron and Neville that I wouldn't stay long. Just long enough to check his condition. So I can't linger, even as much as I want to," Harry confided to her.

"They keep close tabs on you these days, don't they?"

"Yeah, they do," he said with an annoyed edge to his voice. He took a deep breath before saying, "But that's because they care about me. I can see that better now."

He furrowed his brow, as though trying to think of just what to say, and took Remus's hand again. Ginny's eyes welled with tears as Harry interlaced his fingers with those of the unconscious werewolf. She always thought he wasn't good at making tender gestures, that he was just as brutish as every other boy she had ever known. Maybe she was wrong about that. Maybe these were special circumstances.

Her throat tightened as Harry laid his other hand on Remus's forehead and very gently raised his eye lids with his thumb and index finger, coaxing his eyes open. Ginny shivered and started to ask him to stop, but Harry spoke before she could.

"Remus. I don't know if this will work, but I want you to know something and I'm willing to try nearly anything," he said in a soft voice, fixing his gaze on the barely visible slivers of color amid the white, trying to look into Remus's eyes.

Harry leaned closer to him, so that their noses nearly touched. Again, Ginny thought of Legilimency and guessed that was what Harry was doing. He was attempting to use that ability to communicate with Remus's unconscious mind.

"You've been a good friend, almost like an older brother, to me for a long time now. Thank you, Remus, for everything. For being there ... when Sirius left us. For being a good mentor and professor and for always looking out for me."

Harry took a deep breath, and Ginny could see beads of perspiration starting to form on his forehead. Whatever he was doing exactly, it required a lot of energy and concentration. But if Remus could hear those words, if Harry could let him know those things before it was too late, then she thought it was worth it.

"But I don't think it's time for all of that to end. Not yet, Remus. I could say that the Order still needs you. It does, but the Order be damned. I still need you, Remus," he said in quiet, but forceful tone of voice. Ginny saw his gaze waver. "We still need you," Harry amended, taking a deep breath. "So you had better not die. I mean it, Remus," he said with a note of finality in his voice.

Ginny wiped her own eyes again as Harry gently closed the eyes of their friend and teacher. She hoped that Harry had somehow managed to reach him. For a moment Ginny experienced something, a feeling, that she never imagined that she would. She envied Harry Potter, or more precisely, his ability to use Legilimency.

"I know Remus would appreciate what you've said," she said quietly as he let go of Remus's hand and mopped his own sweat-streaked brow with the sleeve of his jumper.

Harry shrugged silently, the only acknowledgment he gave her words, and stood. He looked down at her and Remus and asked, "You're staying here then?"

"Until someone makes me leave," Ginny replied with a nod. She realized that Snape would be coming back and began making plans to find a place to hide or something.

"If he should wake up ..." Harry began to say.

"I don't think he will," she interrupted. She didn't want to dash his hopes, but she didn't want him to be falsely optimistic either. In her opinion, Harry had been through too much already.

"All the same, if he does, Ginny. Tell him I was here and ..."

"I'll tell him what you said, Harry, all right? Just in case he didn't hear," Ginny managed a slight, albeit sad smile at Harry's unwillingness to give up on his mentor.

"Thank you," he said with a nod as he unfolded his cloak and prepared to depart. "Keep your chin up, Ginny."

Then without another word, Harry vanished beneath the cloak and padded softly away. She watched the door of the hospital wing open and close behind him and wondered whether he would be conveying good or bad news to their fellow Gryffindors, whether he would give them hope, that she still considered false, or tell them the truth. Then she realized that he probably wouldn't tell them anything at all.

"For the best," she murmured, taking Remus's hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. His fingers curled again. More than ever, she wanted to be able to believe that he might survive this.

She sighed softly and stroked the back of his hand. She couldn't decide if she was just imagining it, but Ginny thought his hand felt warmer than it did before. However, he remained a sickly gray hue and his breath rattled in his chest just the same.

She chewed her lower lip as she tried to decide whether or not to follow Harry's example and speak her piece while she had the chance. After listening to Harry, she felt strong enough to talk to Remus. And there was a rather significant chance that Snape would be sending her away soon as she had not thought of a good place to hide. Besides that, Madam Pomfrey might come in at any moment to check on Remus.

"I wish I could do what Harry did, though I think I'd be afraid to," she confided in an uncertain voice that was barely above a whisper. "I just want you to know that you're not alone and you won't be, so long as I can help it. Of course, you probably all ready know that." A muscle in his face, the same one as before, twitched. The movement was barely perceptible, but it didn't escape Ginny's notice. She touched his cheek and hushed him. "It's going to be all right," she said without thinking. Her stomach dropped. "You'll stop hurting soon."

A split second later, the door of the hospital swung open with a loud, groaning squeak, scaring Ginny nearly out of her skin. She had let go of Remus's hand and sprang to her feet before she knew it. She found herself facing Severus Snape, who, holding a large beaker of some strange, bubbling substance, was striding purposefully through the ward. There was a scowl on his face as Ginny was spotted.

"Weasley, you aren't supposed to be here. Ten points ..." he began to tell her in a very clipped and terse tone. Then his eyes fell on Remus behind her. "Five points from Gryffindor for being out of your dormitory after hours," he amended as he approached the bed. "He's still alive then?"

"Yes, professor," she said, wiping her face on her sleeve and trying not to look as though she had cried at all.

"Have you been here long?" asked Snape shortly.

"For a bit," she answered hesitantly, watching him as he rounded the bed and looked down at Remus with an appraising expression on his sallow face.

"Has he done anything? Moved? Spoken? Anything?" he asked.

"His face twitched ..." Ginny began to tell him.

"Where?" he asked, interrupting her. She leaned down and pointed to his left temple. "Nothing else?" questioned Snape with a sharp nod.

"No, sir," she answered. "Can you tell me if he's ..."

Snape held up the beaker, which was filled with something viscous, dark orange in color, and bubbling, and said, "If I've got this right, I might be able to save him." Snape swirled the liquid in the glass container and looked at it carefully. "Merlin knows it's never been done before ... but Lupin has a remarkable knack for surviving things that would kill other wizards."

Ginny wasn't certain if Snape was referring to the bite Remus had received as hardly more than a toddler or the deaths of so many of his friends or possibly both, but she nodded in agreement. Snape sneered at her.

"You should go back to your tower now. If I've done this improperly, the results will be extremely unpleasant to witness," he told her.

She hesitated, gazing down at Remus again, and said, "Please, professor, I ..."

"Want to stay? By all means, but if you do, you are going to make yourself useful," said the professor disagreeably. "But don't say that I didn't offer you the chance to leave."

"I won't, professor," said Ginny, swallowing hard and wondering just how unpleasant it might be.

Snape swirled the liquid around again. More bubbles rose to the surface. She thought he might be waiting for something. She didn't have what anyone would call a talent for potions.

"This will expunge the silver from his body," he explained, giving her a sidelong glance. "If I've done everything properly. No one has ever attempted this before, as I've said. Should the dragon's blood be too much or the bezoar too little, the results may prove to be rather gruesome. But I think they're balanced closely enough," said Snape, speaking as much to the beaker of potion as to her.

"Gruesome, sir?" she prompted with a quaver in her voice.

"His insides may come out with the silver," said Severus in a very matter-of-fact tone. Ginny clamped her hands over her mouth. The potions' master merely sneered at her for a moment. "But I believe that to be unlikely," he added as he got some sort of perverse pleasure out of her fright and discomfort.

"Should Madam Pomfrey be here for this?" Ginny questioned when she had found her voice again.

"Perhaps, but she nearly spent herself removing the bullet and patching Lupin up this afternoon. She's earned a few hours of rest. We shall not need her, I hope," said Snape. "Now fetch some towels from one of the cabinets," he order, waving one hand toward the cupboards where the linens were kept.

Ginny took a deep breath as she walked away from the bed, obeying almost without thinking. The subjects that occupied her thoughts were Remus and what might happen to him. She was afraid, but a spark of hope had been kindled too, hope that he might live, that he might be the first werewolf to survive silver poisoning.

Despite this hope, or perhaps because of it, her hands were shaking as she gather a large number of white hospital towels in her arms. She wasn't sure what they were needed for, and she was afraid to come out and ask Snape directly. She did not doubt that his answer with be quite grisly and delivered with a sneer.

"More," called Snape impatiently.

Ginny gathered as many towels as she could hold in her arms. Peering over the top of them as she turned, she nearly dropped them. Snape had removed the blankets from the hospital bed and was in the process of taking Remus's pajamas off too. She blushed furiously and tried to avert her eyes, but not before realizing that Remus wasn't gray in color anymore. He was a dull silvery hue from the substance, the poison, that had worked its way through his body. The point of entry for the bullet was obvious; there was a dark blemish a few centimeters to the right of his navel

"Come here," Snape insisted with an irked expression on his face as he finished removing Remus's clothes. He scowled at her. "Don't tell me you've never seen a naked man before."

"Never a grown-up one, sir," she said, looking down at the floor and blushing to her ears.

"Nevertheless. When I give him this potion, the silver will start to leave his body through his pores. If it stays on his skin too long, he will be burned to death. You are to help me get the silver away from his skin as quickly as possible, which is why we need those towels," he explained in a vaguely condescending tone. "Also, there may be blood mixed with the traces of silver. That should also be wiped away as it will be contaminated with the silver and burn him as well."

"Yes, sir," Ginny stammered, feeling her head swim as she stood on the opposite side of the bed from Snape.

"If you're going to lose your nerve, please tell me now," said Snape as he put his arm behind Remus's head and prepared to administer the draught, which had stopped bubbling.

"I'm not," said Ginny as she tried to get a hold of herself.

Snape nodded and slowly proceeded to pour the orange solution into Remus's mouth, coaxing him to swallow by rubbing his throat. As Ginny watched, she could tell that he had somehow become practiced at this procedure and knew precisely how fast to pour the draught, how hard to press upon Remus's throat, and how quickly he needed to do all of this. His brow was knit in concentration, but he didn't seem the least bit anxious insofar as she could tell.

"Get a towel ready," he instructed without looking up from what he was doing.

Ginny nodded mutely before grabbing and unfolding the nearest towel. Her eyes trailed over Remus's bare skin, seeking some sign that the draught was working. She didn't know what to expect.

"How will we know it's working, professor?" asked Ginny uncertainly.

"Just give it a moment," he said, setting the empty beaker aside and releasing Remus.

She twisted the towel in her hands as she waited. Then a shudder ran through Remus's body. Ginny gasped and darted forward as Snape reached for a towel too. The gray cast was leaving Remus's skin, turning it at first even more silvery, then a watery pink color. He was beginning to bleed. She heard Snape curse quietly, but fluently between gritted teeth.

"Sponge, now!" he hissed at her as he pressed his towel to Remus's face.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, as she patted his bare chest dry, wiping away the blood-silver mixture that was forming on his skin, she realized that Snape was trying to protect Remus's eyes. The poisonous compound on his arms began to sizzle as she raced to clean it away too.

"Faster!" Snape hissed, patting Remus's face dry with one hand and reached for another towel with his other hand.

Ginny tossed hers away as it became soaked with tainted blood and grabbed a fresh one as well. She wiped away the residual amount on his closer arm and pressed the cloth to his abdomen where the substance, fast turning from pink to light red, was pooling. She worked as quickly as she could.

"Lower. He certainly doesn't want any burns there," said Snape insistently as she faltered.

She risked a darting glance toward the professor as he continued to guard Remus's eyes and the rest of his face. With his free hand, Snape grabbed Ginny's hands and thrust them forcefully between Remus's thighs. She closed her eyes for a moment as she wiped away the blood that ran down his inner thighs. A spasm of pain passed through his body. She got a fresh towel and shoved it between his legs to protect him.

"Legs," ordered Snape as he took out his wand. With a word, he levitated Remus a few inches above the blood-and-silver soaked sheets, which he tore from the bed before returning his attention to Remus's face.

Ginny was quick to follow the directive, sponging the mix of blood and poison from his skin. She could see blisters beginning to form where the substance was burning him. Her heart pounded in her chest as she tried to get rid of the horrible stuff.

"Water. We need water," she gasped frantically, turning to Snape as she started upward from his feet again. The noxious fluid continued to flow from his body as though from a sieve.

"Stand back," he commanded, nodding in agreement.

She scrambled back as water flowed from the tip of Snape's wand as he doused Remus. Her breath was coming in gasps as she watched Remus shudder as the water touched him. She knew that it was hurting him, but she could see from the blisters on his skin that the silver was much worse. She darted forward and removed the soaked towel from his thighs. Snape gave a terse nod and continued to wash the blood and excreted silver from his skin.

"Dry him off now," Snape ordered a moment later as he ran his hands through Remus's hair to wash his scalp as well.

Their pile of towels was dwindling as Ginny began drying his skin, from which blood was no longer issuing forth. As the red washed away, she could see that his skin was a deathly white. He had lost an incredible amount of blood in a very short span of time. But the grayness was gone, and for that, she was grateful.

She risked a quick glance at Snape to find him drying Remus's face and checking his eyes. He nodded and appeared to be relieved. She continued what she was doing, taking special care to dry the backs of Remus's legs, while Snape removed the soaked linens from the bed, replacing them with a blanket from the pile in the floor nearby, which were untainted. Ginny stepped back for a moment as Snape removed the levitation spell and returned him to the bed. Then she resumed her task.

The blisters, she noticed, when they had finished drying and decontaminating his skin, were few in number, though they looked rather gruesome, like small, ugly boils. She imagined that they would hurt, but were probably more easily treated than the actual poisoning had been. Ginny was certain that Madam Pomfrey could take care them.

"I believe he will be quite all right given proper rest and a few additional potions," said Snape as he dried his hands on his robes as they had exhausted the supply of towels. He walked from the bed to fetch a hospital robe from the cabinet for Remus, leaving Ginny to stand there and catch her breath.

The relief she felt was nearly dizzying. Cautiously, she reached down and squeezed Remus's hand, mindful of the blisters. His fingers curled around hers, but this time, she felt as though there was a will behind the gesture, as though Remus was in there, reaching out to her. She let go as Snape returned and quickly manhandled smaller Remus into the thin robes.

"See to it that he is made comfortable," Snape ordered before turning on his heel and beginning to walk away. "I will alert Madam Pomfrey to the successful administration of the potion." He paused a few feet down the ward and glanced back at her. "Five points to Gryffindor," he said before continuing on his way.

Ginny collected the rest of the blankets that were piled at the foot of the bed and spread them over Remus to keep away the cold. She imagined that it wouldn't do for him to catch something just now. She took a pillow from the next bed over and placed behind his head. It was just as she was doing this that his eyes opened.

He made a soft sound, not a coherent word, but just a sound as Ginny smiled and brushed his damp hair from his forehead. Tears filled her eyes as she looked down at him. His brow furrowed in confusion, and pain.

"What's happened?" he mumbled. "Where am I?"

She held him still as he tried to move. "You're in the hospital wing, and you're going to be all right, Remus. Just lie still for me, all right?" He nodded that he would, and she let go of him. She felt certain that he wouldn't be able to sit up on his own, but there was no need for him to exhaust himself trying.

"Are you ... crying, Ginny?" he asked in a soft voice as he blinked up at her.

She dried her eyes on her sleeve and said, "I'm just glad that you're okay, that's all." She couldn't help it when new tears welled up to replace the ones she had just wiped away. She laughed. "Very glad," she told him.

Remus looked around the hospital wing for a moment before posing another question: "Where's Harry? I thought ... I could have sworn that Harry was here."

"He was here earlier, but he couldn't stay," Ginny explained. "Do you remember anything he said to you?" she inquired curiously. Since Remus, she felt sure, wouldn't be going anywhere, she didn't feel especially obligated to repeat Harry's words.

"I think so," said Remus, shifting again. He stopped with a warning look from Ginny. "Hurts," he whispered before he closed his pale, tawny eyes for a moment. Ginny sat down next to him and hushed him. "Why does it hurt so much? What happened to me?" he asked.

"You can't remember?" she questioned as a surprised expression came to her face. He shuddered slightly before shaking his head. How could someone forget something so awful as nearly being killed by a Muggle weapon? "You were shot, Remus," she said slowly, hoping to jog his memory.

"Really?" he asked. His eyes widened at that piece of news.

"With a silver bullet," Ginny added, gingerly touching his side where he had been nearly mortally wounded.

Remus took a deep breath and seemed to become even more pale than he already was. He moistened his lips, which looked a bit dry; Ginny imagined that in addition to the loss of blood, he was dehydrated. She wasn't sure if it was safe to give him anything to drink or she would have got something for him.

"So I'm dying then. I never thought it would actually hurt this much. Has anyone told you how long I have left?"

"Remus ..."

"...I need to write a letter to Harry. Get me a quill and parchment, would you, Ginny? I don't want to die without getting a few things off my chest. I don't want to not say good-bye to him like Sirius did."

"Remus ..."

"...Could he be sent for? Could I tell him in person?" babbled Remus before she could get a word in edgewise.

"But you aren't dying, Remus," she tried to explain to him.

"...I don't want anything for the pain. Be sure to tell Madam Pomfrey that. I want my wits about me until the end."

"But, Remus ..."

"...Please tell Harry not to go after the Death Eater who's responsible for this. I'd better write that down. I'm sure he's going to try and avenge my death. Tell him not to do that."

"Remus!"

"...My will. Oh, Merlin, I haven't updated it in almost three years. I don't have very much, but I want Harry to have my books."

"Remus," said Ginny more forcefully, "you don't need to do any of that."

"...The last thing I want to do is leave a mess behind for others to clean up..." he prattled on seemingly without hearing her.

Unable to think of a better way to shut him up and get him to listen to reason, Ginny cupped his face in her hands and leaned down, pressing her lips to his in a kiss. His words were muffled for an instant before he stopped speaking entirely. His eyes widened in shock. Then she pulled away, breaking the kiss.

"I'll have none of that, Remus. You are not dying. You are not going to die for a very long time. Snape ... Professor Snape gave you an antidote for the silver-poisoning. You are going to be just fine," she said in a clear, no-nonsense tone that she might have learned from her mother.

"But silver is deadly to ..." he started to tell her.

She sighed and kissed him quite soundly again. This time he returned the favor, kissing her back very gently, probably with all the strength he could muster. Ginny could see tears in his eyes. He moved as though to reach for her, but the heavy blankets restricted his movements and he was too weak to shrug them aside. To compensate for that, Ginny slipped one hand behind his head, cradling and supporting him, and peeled the linens back in order to slide her other hand beneath his arm, pulling him into a seated position. She marveled at how little he seemed to weigh. She wrapped her arm around him and held him.

"Remus, you really are going to be all right," she said into his ear, resting her chin on his shoulder. Her head began spinning as she realized that she had just kissed him twice, almost without thinking about it.

"Really?" he asked with a quiet sniff.

"Yes, really," she assured him. With her own words, relief washed over her anew. Remus's shoulders shook as she continued to hold him. The injury, she realized, had made him emotionally fragile, vulnerable even. "There, there," she said to Remus, rubbing his back, and trying to avoid inadvertently touching any of his blisters through his robe.

The sound of someone loudly clearing his throat somewhere behind them caused both Ginny and Remus to start.

"Weasley, please return Lupin to where you found him," said Snape in a voice that betrayed his considerable amusement.

Ginny turned to find the professor and Madam Pomfrey watching them. They had walked into the ward without being noticed by either Remus or her, though they had certainly been otherwise occupied. Madam Pomfrey looked exhausted, but more than that, she looked very relieved and even more amused than Snape, who had forced himself to sneer at Ginny and Remus.

After turning several distinct shades of pink and red that were not currently available to Remus, Ginny helped him into a reclining position again, noticing, as she did so, that his eyes were still watery with tears. He began to say something to her, but Madam Pomfrey cut him off.

"Out of the way, Miss Weasley. I need to examine Remus to make certain that there are no lingering effects from his ordeal," said the mediwitch.

Ginny left her seat next to Remus without complaint and stood at the end of the hospital bed.

"Yes, after all the trouble I went through to save his sorry hide, it's best to see that it is indeed in one piece, though, no doubt, he won't be able to keep it that way for very long," said Snape with a sneer as he loomed nearby, watching Pomfrey closely.

"Don't gloat, Severus. It isn't nice," the older witch told him as she examined Remus.

"It's all right, Poppy. He did something that's never been done before. He deserves congratulations. And my thanks," said Remus. Looking up at Snape, he said, "Thank you for saving my life, Severus."

"You owe me now, Lupin, and I won't forget it," said Snape before turning and walking away from all of them.

"He won't either," murmured the mediwitch as she waved her wand over Remus with a knitted brow. "But he did a very good job with that potion. You haven't any trace of silver left in your body. Of course, you have very little blood left either, but that's a comparatively small matter. I can give you a few potions for that, and for the pain and those nasty silver-blisters too," she told her patient, glancing at the bloodstained towels that littered the floor around the bed.

"See, Remus, you're going to be just fine," said Ginny as a smile spread across her face.

"I'll get those potions, and in the meantime, I suppose there isn't any harm in Miss Weasley keeping you company," said Pomfrey as she left the bed. Ginny couldn't help but notice that the older witch was hiding a smile as she bustled away. She was pleasantly surprised that Pomfrey had not shooed her from the premises.

"Sit," instructed Remus with a slight wave of his hand, which he could barely lift from the covers.

Ginny, as she smoothed the blankets and did as he asked, felt butterflies in her stomach, though she didn't know exactly why.

"Does it still hurt?" she asked timidly, picking at a bit of fuzz at the edge of one of his blankets. All of the excitement, she decided, was finally catching up to her.

"Yes, but I'll manage, Ginny. Don't worry about it," he answered, touching her hand with his cool fingertips.

"You're still cold," she said with a frown before taking his hand in hers.

She gave him a shy glance before chafing his fingers with hers to warm them up. She imagined it was the loss of blood that was causing the chilliness now. Somehow it didn't feel as unnatural as before.

"Ginny ..." he started to say before pausing as though trying to think of the right words. Remus shook his head and began again, "Ginny, thank you ... for being here with me. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your company right now. You're a true friend."

"You are quite welcome, Remus, and don't forget that Harry was here too," she reminded him.

Remus chuckled softly and said, "I remember. When I'm able, I believe I shall be having a long talk with him. He makes me so proud. He's grown up so much these last few years." His eyes glistened for a moment. "Both of you have, actually," he amended, giving Ginny's hand a tiny squeeze.

"Harry has grown up," she agreed, blushing at the compliment and finding herself unable to acknowledge it. There was a thoughtful look on his face, and despite the pain she could see lingering in his eyes, Remus seemed ... happy and at peace too. She smiled quizzically at him. "What ever is it, Remus?" asked Ginny.

"I ... it's nothing, Ginny. I just feel incredibly lucky right now," Remus replied.

She laughed and shook her head at that. She wasn't sure she would describe anyone who had hone through the ordeal Remus had experienced as lucky. Not quite the proper word for it. Well, he was fortunate to have survived; that had been nearly miraculous, though it was a very messy and unpleasant miracle.

Remus tugged at her hand until it rested above his heart and gazed into her eyes with an expression that she couldn't quite place.

"Lucky," he repeated softly to her.
A/N: The method of silver extraction used here is probably not possible in real life; however, it is based on the phenomenon referred to colloquially as 'sweating blood' which may be fact or fiction. Personally, I don't believe in it, despite the fact that I have heard an account of the phenomenon from someone claiming to have witnessed it firs hand. They were a religious nut. Chalk the procedure used here up to magic. Please.

Also, this is a one-shot; there are no further chapters. Thank you, and please review, if you feel like doing so.